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Nutrients 2017, 9(2), 125; doi:10.3390/nu9020125

Dietary Fiber and the Human Gut Microbiota: Application of Evidence Mapping Methodology

1
Nutritional Epidemiology, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
2
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
3
Nutrition & Genomics Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
4
Energy Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
5
Nutrition/Infection Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 23 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Fibers and Human Health)
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Abstract

Interest is rapidly growing around the role of the human gut microbiota in facilitating beneficial health effects associated with consumption of dietary fiber. An evidence map of current research activity in this area was created using a newly developed database of dietary fiber intervention studies in humans to identify studies with the following broad outcomes: (1) modulation of colonic microflora; and/or (2) colonic fermentation/short-chain fatty acid concentration. Study design characteristics, fiber exposures, and outcome categories were summarized. A sub-analysis described oligosaccharides and bacterial composition in greater detail. One hundred eighty-eight relevant studies were identified. The fiber categories represented by the most studies were oligosaccharides (20%), resistant starch (16%), and chemically synthesized fibers (15%). Short-chain fatty acid concentration (47%) and bacterial composition (88%) were the most frequently studied outcomes. Whole-diet interventions, measures of bacterial activity, and studies in metabolically at-risk subjects were identified as potential gaps in the evidence. This evidence map efficiently captured the variability in characteristics of expanding research on dietary fiber, gut microbiota, and physiological health benefits, and identified areas that may benefit from further research. We hope that this evidence map will provide a resource for researchers to direct new intervention studies and meta-analyses. View Full-Text
Keywords: dietary fiber; gut microbiota; evidence map; colonic fermentation; oligosaccharides; resistant starch; cereal fiber; Bifidobacteria; Lactobacilli dietary fiber; gut microbiota; evidence map; colonic fermentation; oligosaccharides; resistant starch; cereal fiber; Bifidobacteria; Lactobacilli
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sawicki, C.M.; Livingston, K.A.; Obin, M.; Roberts, S.B.; Chung, M.; McKeown, N.M. Dietary Fiber and the Human Gut Microbiota: Application of Evidence Mapping Methodology. Nutrients 2017, 9, 125.

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